The Junker plan for the European financing of strategic investments comes into operation

On 26.11.2014 the new President of the European Commission presented to the European Parliament the “2015-2017 plan for investments worth 300 billion euros” [1] on projects that can be quickly implemented.

At the time of presentation, the maneuver still had to be clarified, the plan had to be discussed in ECOFIN (the EU Ministers of Economy and Finance), then at the European Council on 18 and 19 December and then at the summit of EU heads of government at the end of the year. .

On 10 March 2015, the ECOFIN approved the regulation of the European Fund called to manage the plan; approval from the European Parliament remains to be obtained.

In summary, the functioning of the system can be summarized as follows:

a fund called EFSI European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) formally separate from the EIB [2] will be created at the EIB, the European Investment Bank , consisting of 5 billion paid by the EIB itself and 16 billions from the European budget [3] ;
the Fund will operate from July 2015 providing the EIB with guarantees on the capital [4] that it – in order to launch the strategic investments in question – would lend (directly or through national banking systems) to private implementers, which in this way would presumably be more attracted to the operation;
by relying on these guarantees, the EIB would find on the financial markets – through bond issues – the capital needed to disburse these loans (or have them disbursed by national banking systems);
this is the level at which the national banking systems (especially the so-called development banks) would intervene. The press of these days [5] informs, for example, that Italy will contribute to the financing of the Fund with 8 billion paid by the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which is a private-law SpA: therefore, the effect on public finance balances is formally null and void. on the stability pact, compliance with the rules on admitted deficit and debt is formally ensured. Equal funding would come from France and Germany;
any state co-financing in support of investments activated on EIB loans would be considered favorably by the EU Commission [6] when monitoring compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact, assuming de facto that they remain outside the deficit calculations;
the supervision of the Fund and the selection of projects to be admitted to the financing thus configured (with selection criteria that in theory would not take into account “country quotas” but only the quality of the proposals) would be entrusted by a “task force” set up by the EU Commission and the EIB;
all this set of mechanisms should produce 315 billion in investments with a leverage effect of as much as 1 in 15 [7] .
It therefore seems once again to be interventions arranged without a guiding strategy and implemented with capital recovered from allocations already decided in favor of scientific research and other EU policies. Still therefore spending of money that does not exist, no new real public investment in useful interventions widespread in the territory but dating back to a reasoned policy [8] , other financial engineering, another re-edition of project finance schemes, other attempts to attract in the realization of large works and large private capital projects [9] which in any case do not want to know despite the promised guarantees, and as always the promise of great benefits for the intermediary banks.

There is no need to dwell on the content and perspectives of this plan which, it must be emphasized, is different from the European institutional system for the financing of projects relating to the European transport network TEN-T (which we have recently described ).

For a critique of the great economic-financial limits of the Juncker plan, read the comment by Andrea Baranes, Solution or another problem? , 12.3.2015, on the website .

More interesting to deal with how the Italian government interprets and uses it.

While waiting for the plan to actually start, the European states have already presented about 1,800 projects for a total value of 1,100 billion.

Italy allegedly presented requests for funding in Brussels on November 14 for approximately 87.1 billion out of 118 projects (in the transport, broadband, energy efficiency, renewable energy, power lines, research and innovation, gas pipelines, smart grids sectors, in short. ) whose total cost would amount to 217 billion [10] .

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